ENG vs PAK | 3rd T20I Preview: Change is the only constant but for distinguished reasons
19 July 2021
When Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined Deepak Chahar in the middle, India were 83 runs away from the target with 90 less than 90 balls remaining. The situation was tense and there could have been the pressure of scoring runs at a fair clip to avoid falling short of the target.
However, both Chahar and Bhuvneshwar showed composure and batted with immense patience. They gambled on Sri Lankan bowlers to provide scoring opportunities while they were determined to “play till the last ball”.
Chahar did hit some crisp shots but only when the spinners gave the ball too much air or bowled too full or pacers provided him width around the off stump, and it helped them in managing the required run rate to a manageable level.
Bhuvneshwar kumar said that the duo decided to not take any chance and did not let their guard down even at the touching distance of the target.
“Our aim was to play till the last ball, last over, so we wanted to take it as deep as possible, so we can score runs. The only plan was to play till the last, and the way Deepak batted was amazing. The only chat and plan was to play till the end. We never said to each other that from here on, we can win. Even when we needed 1 run (3 runs), we were taking one ball at a time. Deepak never let the run rate go above six,” Bhuvneshwar said in the post-match press conference.
“He almost played risk-free shots, where he got few boundaries and brought the required rate to under six. At no stage did we think that we are going to win or lose. We were playing according to the situation and taking it ball by ball.”
Chahar was promoted to the number eight position and Bhuvneshwar Kumar said that the call of his promotion over himself was taken by Rahul Dravid as he has been witness to Chahar’s batting abilities while they were with the India A side.
He said that it was not a tough call to send Chahar one level up the order but commenced Chahar for putting his hands up with a match-winning performance that proved Dravid’s assessment right at the end of the day
“Look, he has played under coach Rahul Dravid before in India A or some series and he had scored there as well. So, Dravid knew that he can bat and he can hit a few balls, so that was Dravid’s call. And the way he batted, Chahar proved it right. We all know that he can bat, he has batted in Ranji Trophy many times, so it wasn’t a tough call but it is good to see the way he scored the runs,” Bhuvneshwar said of his partner.
Earlier in the day, both Bhuvneshwar and Chahar had struggled to pick up wickets with the new balls. however, they came back strongly and used their subtle variations to peg Sri Lanka back in the middle phase of the game.
Both of them have a very wily knuckle ball and it was on display in the second ODI and Bhuvneshwar commended his bowling partner for executing the delivery well to fox batsmen.
He also downplayed his own drying wicket column with the new ball as both of the pacers have not taken wickets in the initial phase of the game. He said that the conditions have been stacked in the favour of batsmen and hence he is “satisfied” with his performance so far in the series.
“Deepak has always been bowling knuckle balls. He has always had that and he is executing that well. And as far as my bowling is concerned, in both the matches, it has been batting-friendly conditions and extremely hot. It becomes difficult for bowlers. I’m satisfied with the way I’ve bowled,” Bhuvneshwar provided an assessment of himself and his bowling partner.
The Indian bowling attack has not been at their best, especially at the start and at the end of the game. They have not taken wickets with the new balls while have also conceded a lot of runs (80 and 76) in the death overs against an inexperienced batting lineup. The surge in the end overs have inflated Sri Lanka’s scores in both the ODIs of the series, but Bhuvneshwar refused to call it a “concern” and rather was “happy” over the performances so far.
“Definitely, as a strategic part, you always look to bowl spinners, a few overs, after 40. Because there are five fielders outside the circle. I don’t think that’s a concern that we have conceded 80 runs or 76 runs in the last 10 overs, because team always looks to score. As a bowling unit, we all are happy with the way we have bowled in the last two matches,” Bhuvneshwar said.
India have sealed the series 2-0 with one game more to go and most likely they will field a changed playing XI in the next game.